Right then, let's get all alphabetical again shall we...Back in those heady days of 1977 someone in the music press, maybe at the behest of a record company type, was trying to sell Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers as being part of the New Wave. They weren’t of course, they were a hard working US rock ‘n’ roll band, maybe a little more 60’s influenced than some. But when I saw a copy of their single “Anything That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll” in the ex-jukebox singles that they kept in our local newsagent, I gave it a go.
I like it, it’s got nothing to do with New Wave at all, it’s more in the vein of artists like Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp that I also have a liking for, honest American, blue collar rock music with (occasionally) something to say. It’s on this album which really isn’t anything special but does have another couple of great tunes on it.
“Breakdown” became one of the bands signature songs, there's an extended version of on their live album "Pack Up The Plantation" which the audience sings most of. And then there is “American Girl”…most people may have first encountered it many years after it’s original release when it featured on the soundtrack of “The Silence Of The Lambs”, but it had a life before that. It’s one of those classic songs that only, really, US artists seem capable of writing and getting away with. “English Girl” doesn’t seem to have the same ring to it but “American Girl”, “American Girls” (Counting Crows), “American Woman” (The Guess Who) the list is endless and it sounds right. Play it along with “Sweet Child Of Mine” and “You Shook Me All Night Long” and it fits right in among those “rock” songs that have become Saturday night “party” classics.
Tom Petty would go on to make much better records than this, but this was a decent start.
American Girl - https://youtu.be/SIhb-kNvL6M?si=O0ZNebL4ATfktmHj